Friday, August 6, 2010

An Informed Populace Votes in Their Best Interest. The Others Aren't Paying Attention.

Funny how democracy works. There is the theory. There is the reality. In theory, informed citizens will vote in favor of their own best interest, based on facts. In reality, people vote for candidates based on sound bites on TV, based on bias, prejudice, and misinformation. People vote on the basis of ill-conceived notions of reality and dare I say it, ignorance.

Let's face it, anyone who has been paying any attention at least since I was born, and I was born in 1950, should know that the political party most likely to pursue policies beneficial to working class and poorer Americans is the Democratic Party. For all their foibles, the Democratic Party are the party of the majority of Americans, if you vote based on facts and an informed vision. We should also face the fact that the vision of the Republican Party is one that best represents the interests of money, big money. They are the party of less government, less regulation, less taxes, and less money in the pockets of working class Americans.

Social Security is designed to be a safety net for working class older Americans and for Americans who are unable to care for themselves. Wealthy Americans typically do not need Social Security and the Republican Party routinely tries to gut this program as being too expensive. They try to privatize it. Do you really want to trust Social Security to the Stock Market and the Wall Street types who precipitated this latest financial meltdown? They try to make it optional. Of course they do. They don't want to pay into a social safety net that benefits poor people and not themselves. Many of the people supporting the "Do away with Social Security" politics are also those who have stripped working Americans of their pensions to foster higher corporate profits. Let's see, the Republican Party, on the whole supports no Social Security and no pensions, and in many cases no minimum wage. What that suggests to me is that these are individuals who want to use ordinary Americans in the work force until they are used up and then discard them like so much trash going to the landfill.

In the latest clash between those who would help working class America and those who would help the minority of really wealthy Americans, there is the fuss over universal healthcare. Who benefits from universal healthcare legislation? Working class Americans. Wealthy Americans can afford their own health insurance. Who opposes universal healthcare? Republicans, the party of wealthy America. They don't want to pay to see that everyone can receive reasonable healthcare when they personally won't benefit from it.

The Republican Party likes to speak in terms of "class warfare created by the Democratic Party," as if we were one unified America, all equal, and engaged one big group hug. Class warfare? Of course there is class warfare. The Republican Party promotes it. They declared war on working class America a long time ago. The shameful thing is the pretense that what they propose will actually help all Americans. Please explain to me again, how cutting taxes one more time for the wealthiest Americans will shrink the budget deficit, create more jobs, and help all Americans. Somehow the logic escapes me.

So how is it that large numbers of working class and poorer Americans continue to support the Republican Party when they are so obviously making every effort to screw working class America? In my lifetime, the real trouble with the Republican Party started with Ronald Reagan. He brought back the idea of trickle down economics (Very popular in the 1920's until the stock market crashed in 1929.). More importantly, however, he brought in an element of jingoism. Make America safe from all enemies. Spend enormous amounts of money on the military and just kick anyone's ass that disagrees with us. Then he also allied himself with social conservatives.

As it turns out, those most likely to agree with a militaristic foreign policy and domestic policies that oppose abortion, gay rights, civil rights, women's rights, immigration reform and any number of other hot button social conservative issues are working class Americans. The Republican Party sold its soul to the devil and forged an alliance of the super wealthy, busy grabbing larger and larger portions of the pie, and the social conservatives, busy trying to return us all to a world that was in place before 1950. The sad thing being that these social conservatives support the Republican agenda wholesale, disregarding the fact that the Republican ideal screws most of them economically while pandering to them on social issues.

The founding fathers had an ideal of a republic where an informed populace would vote in its own best interest, and the great issues of the day would be debated, not just on the floors of Congress, but in the press, and on the streets of America. Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia with the idea that the best and brightest would be able to go there and receive a world class education regardless of income. He had that informed and competent citizen thing in mind. Competent governance requires competent citizens. If ever there were an argument for public education, it is this. Now if we could only get Americans to take their education seriously, and take time out from obsessing over American Idol and what's up with Lindsey Lohan long enough to read some serious news, and think about it.

I guess my advice to the American people at this point can be summed up in two short words, "Pay attention!" If you're paying attention, you're less likely to have the wool pulled over your eyes. Have a wonderful weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment